Making A Miter Saw Fence Workshop Projects
I’ve owned this miter saw for quite a long time and it has served me flawlessly over those years. It is the best I’ve ever used and it is one of only a few tools that I have no regret buying. And that’s important: it’s the number two tool in my shop for usage, with my table saw being number one. It gets used every time I’m out there.
So it probably seems as though there isn’t any room for improvement, considering all of this praise I’m heaping on it . And for most applications that this saw was designed for, there isn’t any. However, I’m using this in a fixed location for a number of specific cuts and thought I could make some changes to bump up the performance.
This is a compound miter saw, but I never tilt it to make bevel cuts. That means that the new fence can be optimized for angle cuts only.
First was to make a new insert for the platter that is absolutely flush with the surface:
I made that from the spalted maple I cut a few years ago and show how I did it in this video:
” …it can be improved to better suit the way I used this saw…”
The insert is a so called “zero clearance”, but that’s not really effective on a miter saw like this, other than to limit the amount of sawdust that collects in that slot. The major benefit is the support it gives to the stock right where the blade is cutting. That’s especially good for smaller or thin pieces.
While the fence on this saw is perfectly adequate, it can be improved to better suit the way I used this saw. I’ve made zero clearance auxiliary fences before that work with the stock fence, but those are an extra step to put on and have other problems. A zero clearance at the fence is effective for reducing the amount of tear-out as the blade cuts through the stock.
Rather than working the stock fence, I thought I’d build a new one that gives me that zero clearance feature. I started by removing the old one after marking its position. The stock fence was perfectly straight and square to the blade, so I wanted to preserve that.
The first part to make is the base that bolts onto the deck of the saw. I used 3/4″ Baltic birch plywood for that for stability and strength:
The original fence was in two pieces and that made it tricky to line up precisely.
1/2″ plywood was used for the face of the fence and that gets screwed to the base:
I have the base clamped in my quick release vise and I’m not gluing these parts. I want to be able to quickly replace parts as they become damaged or worn.
Of course the fence is useless if it isn’t straight and square, and I checked that often while putting it together:
The original concept was to keep this as simple as possible. But when I made the cut through, I found that the fence needed some backing to keep it from flexing. I cut a strip of 3/4″ plywood and screwed that in place at the top:
And that fixed the problem:
Here’s a video showing the fence being made up to this point:
What do I mean “up to this point”? Well, I wasn’t happy with how the fence looked. And I also realized that I could connect both sides on top just like I did on the bottom, with a ring. So I removed the backing and shortened the upright braces, and laid out a new part for the top:
Cut it out on the band saw and fasten it in place:
I also added strips of tape to the bottom to shim it up and allow the platter to rotate freely:
Yes, this looks much better!
And as mentioned before, a fence isn’t much use if it isn’t perfectly straight and square. I need to stress how important it is to check that through every step:
There is one drawback with a fence like this and that’s dust collection. It very effective when cutting smaller parts, but not as much when cutting wide pieces. The narrow slot doesn’t allow the dust to fly through. So a possible future upgrade would be to try to improve that.
The support for the stock near the blade is very welcome. The slot opening is very precisely located at the centre of the pivot:
The finished fence:
And here’s an exclusive video showing how I made the new top: